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Old 07-21-2021, 03:35 PM   #1
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2021 28' International
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RAM 2500 Turbo Diesel question

When I traded trucks with another forum member, he advised me that he had always, even when not towing, ran his truck with both Tow Haul and Engine Brake engaged. His reasoning was that the engine brake did a lot toward saving his brake pads.

I didn't question this, but since there's a wealth of information on this forum, I thought I'd pose it for those with more experience than me.
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Old 07-21-2021, 03:52 PM   #2
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I have a Cummins turbo diesels and I only use Tow/Haul when I'm towing. However, I often engage the exhaust brake, especially when there is a lot of stop and go traffic. I definitely helps slow down the truck thus saving some wear on the brake pads!
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Old 07-21-2021, 04:09 PM   #3
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Mine is a 2007 without the exhaust brake. I run tow haul while towing. Sometimes when on hilly 2 Lane roads at modest speeds I run tow haul when not towing. Sometimes tow haul with the overdrive off also. I wished I had added a exhaust brake when I bought the truck. Brake pads are cheap and east to replace, transmissions are expensive and more difficult. I would only run the exhaust brake when towing or in difficult descents. I just replaced my transmission at 260000 mikes. I do not know if that means I am doing it wrong or right. I had a Dodge van transmission fail at 110000. Only towed a pop up with that van. I tend to set the trailer brakes and depend a lot on the truck brakes so would like the exhaust brake.
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Old 07-21-2021, 04:25 PM   #4
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I tow with both exhaust brake and tow/haul engaged. The exhaust brake really lightens the load on both the truck and trailer brakes.
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Old 07-21-2021, 06:31 PM   #5
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I'll use engine brake sometimes when not towing if on a long downhill. Tap the brakes and it kicks in.

I only use tow / haul when towing (changes shift points and loosens up the steering a bit on my truck)
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Old 07-21-2021, 07:38 PM   #6
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I use tow/haul only when towing but I put on the (Full) exhaust brake pretty much always. I find the exhaust brake isn’t nearly as useful when not towing as many proclaim it to be because it only kicks in when the engine RPMs are above 1100. With today’s transmission and shift points, RPMs drop below 1100 fairly quickly. The EB never kicks in below 35 mph.

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Old 07-21-2021, 08:14 PM   #7
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I use the tow/haul and exhaust brake only when towing. The exhaust brake is really worth every penny when towing and going downhill. To save the TV brakes, I usually manually apply the trailer brakes...
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Old 07-21-2021, 09:02 PM   #8
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I’ve only had my truck a few weeks and just got my 25’ Globetrotter today. Frankly I don’t notice much in the shift point changes and I’ve never used the exhaust brake yet. Of course being in Florida I’ll have to look hard for hills. I did use my exhaust brake on my diesel pusher though, so I’ll probably do the same when towing. But everyday driving? Nah. I think tow haul delays the shift points and reduces gas millage. The exhaust brake really should not do much to save brakes when you are not loaded with a trailer or significant payload.
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Old 07-22-2021, 04:47 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jondrew55 View Post
The exhaust brake really should not do much to save brakes when you are not loaded with a trailer or significant payload
Agreed. However, I’ve read in a number of places that using the exhaust brake regularly also helps prevent carbon or other deposits from building up on the turbo vanes, so it apparently has this other benefit.

As it doesn’t hurt to use it (aside from a minimal reduction in fuel efficiency), I turn it on every day.

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Old 07-22-2021, 06:00 AM   #10
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The above is true. Having the (full) exhaust brake on is good for the engine and brakes. I use it every time I drive. I only use tow when pulling my AS.
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Old 07-22-2021, 06:44 AM   #11
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RAM 2500 Turbo Diesel question

As others say, using Tow/Haul mode and Ram’s Exhaust Brake provides a more optimal experience for towing.

I have a 2020 Ram 2500 with the Cummins diesel and previously had the 1500 Ram EcoDiesel rig without an exhaust brake. The tow/haul modes feel similar, not much to notice other than the higher shift points. However, the exhaust brake is very helpful when towing. Especially when driving down steep inclines. Much more comfortable “in control” experience without the need to use the brakes.

I highly recommend using the exhaust brake feature, even when not towing. As recommended by the dealer when we picked up the truck, use the exhaust brake whenever possible because it does help to reduce soot buildup.
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Old 07-22-2021, 07:36 AM   #12
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Using the exhaust brake when not towing slows that heavy truck down quite a bit when needing to stop. I’m really surprised at comments to the contrary, unless you’re talking about a gas powered 2500.
I’ll take the advice and discontinue using tow-haul when not towing.
I appreciate learning about reducing the soot buildup by using the exhaust brake.
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Old 07-22-2021, 10:00 AM   #13
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Our truck is older (2004 2500 Cummins 5.9) but we use the tow/haul when trailering in on hills (we live in Sierra foothills). Also use it in town at slower speeds pulling trailer.

We turn off tow/haul when trailering on flat surfaces and nearly always when driving without trailer (but sometimes will use tow/haul without trailer in mountains). Doing that gives us better fuel mileage.
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Old 07-22-2021, 11:31 AM   #14
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According to my diesel mechanic the engine brake on a Cummins isn't the same thing as the engine brake on a heavy duty diesel. By way of vanes the opening in the turbo is varied in size depending on requirements. Using the engine brake on these Ram engines helps keep the vanes freed up and working. Apparently they have been know to get stuck on occasion. The turbo opening is restricted when the engine brake is operating creating back pressure in the engine and this is what helps the truck slow down.
I rarely use tow/haul because of what seems to me creates drastic and hard downshifting. I want my transmission to shift as little and as effortlessly as possible -- within reason. I try and prepare for a downhill in advance be manually selecting a gear I think will be right and making sure the engine brake is on. Coming down Slumgullion Pass in Colorado last month (9% grade) I think I was in 3rd gear and only tapped the brakes once in awhile. The transmission didn't shift at all.
The higher the engine RPM the more effective the engine brake is, again, within reason.
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Old 07-23-2021, 08:39 PM   #15
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My 2015 Ram 3500 does not have "tow/haul" since I have the 6 speed manual transmission, so I can't address that. I do however, set the engine brake on "auto" quite a bit as I live in some pretty hilly terrain, and it saves a lot of wear and tear on brakes.
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